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Chronicle of a Southern Gentleman: Life in the Old South

By Louisa Coleman Blair
Richmond, Virginia

Diary of Colonel James Gordon, who Emigrated to Virginia in 1738, and Entered into the Social and Religious Life of the Scotch-Irish Regime in America His Observations of Presbyterian Character and its Influence upon the Moulding of the National Spirit of Liberty

THIS chronicle of a Southern gentleman, relating to life in the Old South, is one of those human documents which take one from the activities of Modern America back to the chivalrous days when this country was loyal to monarchal government, when secession from royalism was anarchy, and liberty of speech, concience and press was socialism. The original manuscript, written from 1759 to 1763, by a distinguished member of the gentry of that time, is in possession of his descendants, and portions of it are here transcribed for historical record, with entertaining reflections on life and customs in America in the pro-revolutionary days. The diarist was one of those strong-minded gentlemen of Scotch-Irish blood, whose character has permeated the magnificent demesne that lies at the foothills of the Alleghanies and the Blue Ridge. The Appalachian mountain country from Pennsylvania to the Gulf-and has instilled its strength into our national life. The Scotch-Irish came to America from the north of Ireland, where they had settled during the “Plantation of Ulster,” in the reign of James I. Shortly after the famous siege of Londonderry, in 1689, these iron-willed, strong-minded men began to settle in the valley of the Shenandoah, occupying the highland region, back from the coast, and formed an independent, sturdy stock that has been an important factor in the moulding of our national spirit. Andrew Jackson, Calhoun, and many of the vigorous men in the building of the Nation, have sprung from this race. Its influence was carried into Puritan New England, where Scotch-Irish settlements were founded in New Hampshire as early as 1719. The progeny of this blood held a Scotch-Irish Congress in Columbia, Tennessee, some years ago, and organized a society for the preservation of Scotch-Irish history and associations. These observations of Colonel Gordon, from entries in his original diary, are a worthy contribution to this literature. In Virginia and the Carolinas, there are several privately owned paintings relating to the Scotch-Irish regime. Dr. William St. Clair Gordon of Richmond, Virginia, has in his possession original portraits of the Gordons.—EDITOR

IT has been said that the Eighteenth Century was the Golden Age. It is quite true that the material wealth and social graces of the ancient regime were then brilliant in Old Virginia. In the grain of general prosperity the prickly plants of religious discontent had steadily increased throughout America. Tares were they,-so thought the Virginia planters, themselves loyal to church as to king. Desire for religious liberty had stimulated political freedom. Patrick Henry championed the cause of the persecuted Baptist ministers; he argued against the exactions of the established clergy by maintaining that there was misrule on the part of the king. Thomas Jefferson conceded that religious discontent was predominant, and prepared and carried the bill for religious freedom. There are many graphic records of dissent in colonial Virginia. I have recently found one from the pen of a Presbyterian gentleman-James Gordon who had emigrated from Ireland to Virginia in 1738. He settled in Lancaster County on the Rappahannock River. A younger brother, who came with him to the colony, resided across the river in Middlesex County. Amiable, good-looking, and of ancient family, the younger men speedily became favorites with their new neighbors. The brothers engaged in shipping and general merchandise business. They prospered and married ladies of families long established in the colony. For a number of years James Gordon kept a journal in which he recorded brief daily entries of his mercantile and farming concerns, domestic matters, the status of religion and events of interest, with a careful register of all visitors at his mansion and his own visits away from home. Unfortunately, I find only a portion of his diary and that has come down to us in a fragment which seems to have been torn from a large volume. The four years’ record that this fragment contains (1759-1763) presents a faithful likeness of Virginia life an hundred and forty years ago. The Northern Neck, in which Lancaster County is situated, supported before the Revolution a prosperous population. The varied soils of this peninsula yielded bountiful crops of maize and tobacco, wheat and flax. Great warehouses along the rivers unburdened themselves for less plentiful lands across the sea; the ports of entry drove a thrifty trade with ships from Jamaica and other foreign marts.

In the year 1759 the lower portion of the Virginia colony lay in a political calm. Thanks to Nathaniel Bacon, the people of Eastern Virginia since 1676 had nothing to fear from the savages. In the French and Indian War, the horrible massacres along the frontier came nearly to an end with the peaceful conquest of Duquesne by Forbes and Washington. Henceforth fighting was transferred to Canada. The campaigns were too distant and the dispatches too infrequent greatly to affect the lives of the Virginia planters, secure below the great Appalachian wall. There was no longer even the exhilaration of quarreling with the Governor, for the unpopular Dinwiddie had sailed to England the year before to the entire content of the Virginians, and his successors, Francis Fauquier and Norborne, Lord Botetourt, were everything that Virginia gentlemen desired in leaders of courtly council. The great debates which preceded the Revolution had not arisen. The lives of the planters on the Northern Neck were enlivened chiefly by constant arrivals of vessels from the Indies or England, tidings of a miscarried cargo, or a runaway slave, or talk at the court-house concerning the parsons and dissenters. The dissenters were having a hard time of it inthe colony. The English Act of Religious Toleration, passed under William and Mary, 1689, was never formally grafted on the Virginia Statute Books. True, it was recognized by various governors and advocates, but fashionable opinion had continued strong against any who were not satisfied with the form of religion “good enough for the king.” In comparison with other dissenting sects the Presbyterian enjoyed some degree of comfort. Three of the Virginia governors, during the Eighteenth Century-Spotswood, Gooch, and Dinwiddie, were Scotchmen, as was Commissary Blair, President of William and Mary College. They were therefore familiar with the Presbyterian as the established form of worship in Scotland. They had favored granting to the grave young divines from northern colleges who applied to them at Williamsburg, licenses to preach and establish meetinghouses in Virginia. Nevertheless, in this liberality the Governor’s Council did not often concur. The contrast between the freedom Presbyterians had enjoyed for fifty years in Scotland and the intolerance they met in Virginia is heightened furthermore by the spiritual coldness of the established church of the province at this time. The mother church in England, asleep in the scepticism of the Eighteenth Century had been roused by the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. But her awakening had scarcely stirred her far-away daughter in the new land; and that the dissenters in the colony were eagerly partaking of the revival, only served to discredit it further among the Virginia clergy. The diary of James Gordon gives us a clear notion of this religious rift in the colony.

As may be expected, we shall look in vain to find in the note-book of a business man and sober Presbyterian, the polite fancies, the gayeties, and the graces which we are accustomed to connect with writings of the Eighteenth Century. The light extravagance, the zest and play which sparkle from every page of that “prince of good fellows,” Colonel William Byrd, are all absent here. On the other hand, we do not find the tendency to morbid meditation uppermost in the journals of some of the religious enthusiasts of the time. Although the writer sometimes rises into fervor, in general he is placid. His observations are quiet rather than comic, wise rather than witty; not gay, but cheerful. And it is unlikely that the view the writer gives us of Virginia society could have chanced otherwise from a man who himself took a position half way between the petty obscurities and the luxuriant follies of his day. Moreover, the journal was kept for private convenience. Its jottings are straight to the page, as the events happened; neither furbished nor undervalued,-evidently a moderate representation of the era-an account both accurate and sincere. The life of the diarist was by no means bare. In the year 1759, James Gordon was in the prime of his years and activity; a large-landed proprietor; father of many children; colonel of militia, and magistrate in the county. His portrait, painted, it is said, by Hesselius, presents a man of florid, but sweet countenance; the dignity of a portly form, handsomely clothed with the adornment of ruffles and white perruque. The entries of the diary bring us at once into contact with an agreeable company of people living amid the entertainment and hospitality which these Virginians never ceased to exchange:

Jan. 1, 1759,–Dr. Robertson and his young wife came here according to the Dr.’s custom. Very agreeable company and good dinner. Our boat went for Mrs. Wormley. Miss Flood went in our chair to Mr. Camm’s. Dr. Robertson went to Mr. Charles Carter’s. Mr. Dale Carter and Mr. Payne here. John Mitchell and his wife came at night in the rain. Several of the neighbors came in the evening.

Although the diary brims with notices of daily guests, only three times in four years does the busy householder find the presence of visitors inconvenient:

A throng day of company. Our poor little Sally (his daughter) has been very unwell for several days, but before I returned she was taken with fits. We do not expect her recovery. A great company here which is rather disagreeable as the child is so unwell. But these trifles we sh’d bear with more patience than we do.

It is evident, nevertheless, that the genial Scotch-Irishman greatly enjoyed his guests, for the company is usually “very agreeable,” and one entry runs:

We had no company, which is surprising.

This neglect was remedied a day afterwards:

Mr. Wm. Churchill, his wife and five children came, and Mrs. Carter and her son and Miss Judith Bassett.

Nor was the host less of a visitor himself. Indeed, the whole neighborhood must have been a large “merry-go-round.” the more noticeable when one considers that the intercourse between the people of the bay counties in Virginia, then, as now, was carried on greatly by water. Among the visitors Gordon records in his diary, we find not a few honorable names Dr. Andrew Robertson was an eminent Scotch surgeon who had fought in the Flemish wars, was with Braddock in 1755, and had escaped from that rout with the remains of his regiment, twenty men in number. He resigned his commission on returning to Great Britain and emigrated to Virginia with his wife and son. He decided upon a residence in Lancaster County, and soon took the lead in medical practice in the Northern Neck. Being as Scotchman, and a staunch Presbyterian, he became a frequent visitor at Colonel Gordon’s, and joined with him in promoting Presbyterianism in the neighborhood. The most picturesque figure in Gordon’s narrative is the father of his first wife. The Conways had been settled in Northumberland and Lancaster a hundred years when James Gordon, newly arrived in the colony, asked for the hand of Milicent, youngest daughter of Colonel Edwin Conway, heir, by the Virginia law of primogeniture, to large tracts, estates handed down from original grant. The hand was acceded, but the tapering fingers of the thirteenyear-old bride would not retain the wedding-ring,-sad omen, for Milicent, “a most loving and excellent wife,” died at the age of nineteen, leaving two little daughters. Anne, the elder, had been named, doubtless, for her grandmother, Anne Ball Conway, halfsister of Mary Washington, but Colonel Gordon dubs her affectionately “Nancy,” and she seems to have been his favorite child. Colonel Gordon went often to visit Colonel Conway. He had been a leader of men, and a champion for the rights of the people throughout his whole country-side. In the Conway papers we have a spirited account of a contest of the planters of the Rappahannock district with a “spightful tobacco inspector.” Fire and fists were resorted to. Colonel Conway pacified the bitter people by appealing to Governor Gooch on their behalf. This gentleman had actively engaged also in the dispute which arose between Governor Spotswood and the House of Burgesses concerning the levy for the defense; a tax which the House refused to impose, whereupon that ruler of force wrathfully dissolved the assembly, and it was for several years prorogued.

Colonel Conway was indeed one who “feared God and none besides.” He was of a ripe age when we are introduced to him in Gordon’s account, but his zeal for what he conceived to be the good of those around him had not abated, as we see him in his efforts, loyal churchman that he was, to contend with the dissenters. His more liberal son-in-law perpetually placed him self a reconciler between the irascible old gentleman and his neighbors of the new-fangled doctrines. Colonel Gordon writes:

1759, Jan. 9th,-Went to Col. Conway’s where Mr. Criswell joined us and was very agreeably entertained. This gentleman has now fully dropped opposing the meeting-house, which is mostly occasioned by a letter he recently received from Mr. Ben Waller who advises that the Dissenters have power to build a house and enjoy their religion by Act of Toleration. Complains very much of the Church of England for petitioning the King about a law that was lately passed in this colony that sets their salaries (the parson’s) at 16/8 per cwt. which they call the Two-Penny Act, and which is likely to make a great noise in this country, (as it did). Went to Col. Conway’s with Mr. Camm; the difference between Mr. Camm and myself settled.

Mr. Camm, a clergyman, also took a prominent part in the contest between the clergy and the Legislature about the value of tobacco in which the stipends were paid (Foote’s Sketches of Virginia). This celebrated dispute first brought Patrick Henry into fame. After a number of “agreeable” visits to his father-in-law, Colonel Gordon notes:

Received a letter from Col. Conway and one to Nancy upon religion, but in my opinion very little to the purpose. Thos. Carter rec’d one which displeased him very much. Col. Conway seems so great a bigot that people who are religiously inclined despise his advice.

The word religion, indeed, was not very exactly defined in the Eighteenth Century. Each sect claimed a monopoly of the truth. Yet three years later, when his son-in-law records in the family Bible, the death of “the people’s champion,” it is with words of admiration. “A gentleman of very great parts,” he writes. In spite of religious difference, it is evident Gordon regarded him with affection and honor. A man of greater parts than Colonel Conway, and as fervent in religious zeal, figures also in the Gordon memoir. This was the Reverend Samuel Davies. The war-cries of Davies and his prophetic utterance concerning Washington are matters of Virginia history. Dr. Doddridge addressed Davies as “a man of so great eminence.” Jonathan Edwards commended him as “a man of very solid understanding.” But it is as the father of Presbyterianism in Virginia, the tender shepherd of harassed sheep, that Gordon fondly regarded him. In poor contrast with the gifted Davies, who was more flame and spirit than flesh of this world, were many of the parsons of the establishment in Virginia. No more devoted Christians than their pioneers to the colony had ever existed. Pious Robert Hunt, Smith’s chaplain, Bucke, of the “Sea Venture,” “Pure and Honorable Master Whittaker, Apostle to the Indians,” who baptized Pocahontas,-all these labored with increasing zeal for the field committed to their charge-as did James Blair, founder of William and Mary College. Yet the lack of a bishop of Virginia, the long distance from which a supply of incumbents must be drawn, and the uncertain tempers of their masters, the vestries when the clergymen did come, all combined to produce but poor material wherewith to supply the parish pulpits. The people saw their pastors at the race-field and cocking-match; at wine or cards the, parsons excelled; their conversation ridiculed religious experience as fanatical. We need not be surprised that our earnest diarist was not unobserved of such “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Went with Mr. Criswell to North Coast and called at Northumberland Court House. At court Mr. Leland and Minzie behaved like black-guards in respect to Mr. Criswell who went to get scholars and engaged several though the Parsons did all they could to prevent it which seemed to make the people more fond of sending their children. T think such ministers should be stripped of their gowns.

Went to Col. Selden’s where I had the pleasure of meeting dear Mr. Davies. He came home with me, with Col. Selden and Mr. Shackelford. Went to meeting where Mr. Davies gave us an excellent sermon. A full house.

Sunday-A comfortable day to me. The Lord’s Supper was administered to 44 communicants, besides the Hanover gentlemen. About 800 or 900 present.

Robert Hening came home and brought a letter from Mr. Minzie to Mr. Davies, which, in my opinion, is very foolish.

May 7,-After dinner went to the Court House. The Court sat but a short time. The Minister’l Play was read in the ordinary by Mr. Packer who received it from Mr. Rinehard, who said he found it in the Court Yard. (The play was written by the parsons to ridicule the dissenters). Minzie and Leland at the head of the mob. Pretty fellows these to be teachers of the people.

Went to our Court. Saw Mr. Leland, but had no words with him. I understand all the gentlemen of sense ridicule the farce.

Sunday, August 25,-At home with my wife and family, where I have much more comfort than going to church, hearing the ministers ridicule the dissenters.

October 11th,-Mr. Criswell came before dinner, but with disagreeable news that Mr. Davies will not return this way. (A previous entry notes) : I wrote to him his going away gives us here and in Hanover the greatest uneasiness, but I trust God will direct us in the way to Heaven.

Mr. Davies had accepted the Presidency of Princeton College, left vacant by the death of Jonathan Edwards. Some time later Colonel Gordon makes this entry:

March 12, 1761:-Yesterday heard the disagreeable news of the death of the Rev. Mr. Samuel Davies. Never was a man in America, I imagine, more lamented. The Christian, the gentleman, and the scholar appeared conspicuous in him. Virginia, and even Lancaster, I hope, has great reason to bless God for sending such a minister of the gospel amongst us. But He that sent him could send another, and his labor be attended with as much success. But I am afraid our country is too wicked for such comfort.

But let us revert to the ministerial situation. Colonel Gordon notes:

1759, July 9th:-Went to North’d Court. The paper was read about Minzie and Leland publickly, which occasioned a large company some mirth. Minzie sat till it was read and then went out much displeased. It appears these ministers will repeat their farce that has pleased them so much.

Sunday-Silla and Molly went to church. I read a sermon to the negroes.

Went with my wife to White Chapel Church where we heard Mr. Camm-a very indifferent discourse, nothing scarce but external modes; much against Presbyterians, so that I was much disappointed, for it was misspending the Lord’s Day. How I lament the want of a good minister for our own church that we may all see the things that belong to our peace before it be too late.

Went to our vestry. Spoke to Mr. Camm about the sermons he has preached lately; he endeavored to excuse himself, but could not do it in my opinion.

Even a parson could take a hint, though, for three weeks later:

Mr. Criswell went to White Chapel Church. Nothing against the dissenters.

In spite of all these vexations (and from vexations the dwellers in the golden age of Virginia were not free) the year 1759 drew comfortably to a close in the Colonel’s wellordered household.

October 28th, 1759:-Maj. Campbell called here this morning on his way from James River and brought the agreeable news of the surrender of Quebec and Montreal, but with the loss of our great and brave General Wolfe who was killed in the engagement. (The agreeable news had been forty-six days in coming). Nancy, Mr. Criswell, and Mrs. Gordon go to White Chapel Church and report on returning there is again nothing against the dissenters. The year ends pleasantly with an oyster dinner party, on the last day, at the mouth of Jonah’s Cove.

And the grateful father of the family comments:

Very agreeably ended the old year; for which and all other mercies, I adore and praise the Divine goodness, for He is good, and His mercy endureth forever.

In 1763, the Reverend George Whitefield visited the Northern Neck. “Mr. Whitefield,” says a biographer, “sailed from Scotland for Rappahannock. He had sailed with but little hopes of further usefulness, owing to his asthma, and it was with difficulty he preached.” Mr. Whitefield had been in Virginia before, Colonel Gordon says:

1763, Aug, 26th:-This evening I had the comfort of receiving a letter from Rev. George Whitefield who landed this day at Urbana.

27:-Mr. Waddell and I set off in our boat for Urbana and got there about 10 o’c. Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Wright, who came with him, readily agreed to come with us, so we got home about 2- very happy in the company of Mr. Whitefield.

Aug. 28th;-Mr. Whitefield preached a most affecting sermon to a great number of people. My wife would venture out tho’ in such a condition.

31st:-Went with Mr. Whitefield to meeting where we had a fine discourse to a crowded assembly.

Sept. 2nd:-Sent for Col. Selden and bought his chair and horses for £ 47/10 for Mr. Whitefield who seems much pleased with them and proposes setting off to-morrow. (The Rev. Mr. Whitefield was on his way to Philadelphia).

There are pleasant traditions of this visit of Mr. Whitefield to the Northern Neck handed down through Miss Hening, who was then a little girl and a frequent playfellow of the Gordon children. She remembers him as cheerful in private intercourse and playful with children. Colonel Gordon continues:

Sept. 10th:–The Lord’s Supper was administered to about 115 white and 85 black communicants. We met Mr. Waddell at the meeting as Mr. Whitefield w’d not part from him so as to allow him to return before.

The young minister whom Mr. Whitefield had retained in his company was by all accounts such a one as Mr. Whitefield himself described as “a bright witness of Jesus Christ.” He was the celebrated James Waddell, famous later in Virginia as the Blind Preacher, whose marvellous eloquence inspired the pen of William Wirt in The British Spy. Patrick Henry, after hearing the most famous speakers of America, was accustomed to say that Waddell and Davies were the greatest orators he had ever heard. Mr. Waddell was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Hanover in 1701. Ten churches in Virginia, and one in Pennsylvania sued almost immediately for his services, but Mr. Waddell decided in favor of the churches in Lancaster and Northumberland. Colonel Gordon says:

Blessed be God for giving us such a prospect of Mr. Waddell who has a great character in the divine life.

Went to the upper meeting. Mr. Waddell gave us two excellent sermons. The people seem delighted with him.

Mr. Waddell gave us two fine sermons to a vast number of hearers. He is so universally liked that people flock to hear him. Mr. Waddell has hearers enough.

The young orator, handsome and distinguished in appearance, was successful in another way. He had resided at the Gordon’s about a year when the colonel makes this entry:

Mr. Waddell spoke to me to-day about Mollie.

Mollie, the colonel’s third daughter, was scarcely above ten years at the time of Mr. Waddell’s proposal. With her brother James, and their playmate, Mollie Hening, she was sent to be catechised before her suitor. We wonder if Mollie was aware of his request and if his sentiments helped her to perfect herself in the Shorter Catechism!

Went with my wife and family to meeting to hear the young people say their catechisms. Mr. Waddell gave us, good advice and exhortation how to bring up ur children. (Mr. Waddell was twenty-three). Molly Hening answered the best and all the Larger Catechism. James Gordon answered ninety questions in the Larger Catechism; Mollie said all the Shorter.

Let us believe the musical voice and winning manner of the young pastor softened the long ordeal-at least for Mollie. At the age of sixteen, she became his wife. The daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Waddell married Dr. Archibald Alexander of Princeton.

After procuring this “agreeable minister,” the Presbyterian congregation made great efforts to establish itself permanently. The congregation purchased a glebe. For the cultivation of this, Colonel Gordon persuaded Colonel Selden to present his negro man, Toby. £ 300 had been raised by lottery the year before to build a meeting-house. Colonel Gordon, finding more seats needed to accommodate Mr. Waddell’s hearers, gives timber. Although a large proportion of the entries in the Gordon diary report affairs of religion, not a few concern themselves with physical well-being. Malaria haunted with alarming fatality the low-lying lands of the Northern Neck. Mrs. Gordon was frequent in her offices for the sick. The duties of the Virginia matron were far from nominal ones only. Colonel Gordon does not record an idle moment on the part of his wife. She entertained daily, guests in unforeseen numbers; she visited an immense acquaintance in all times of illness, death, and rejoicing, and was accustomed to receive the large compliment of their continued presence within her own mansion during like events at home. We feel sure she was a lenient step-mother, for, in their portrait, the little faces of Nancy and Sallie look out very happily above their prim, satin gowns. Mrs. Gordon was, besides a devout church-goer, and a kind and attentive mistress to her slaves. In all these offices she was gallantly aided by her consort, who was a true lover of home. Nor does the loyal Gordon ever hint of a moment of discord between them. That a discord existed at first, seems probable, since Mary Harrison was a bigotted High Church-woman at the time of her marriage, and was only convinced of the error of her ways by a sermon which she accidentally heard from the Reverend Samuel Davies. Perhaps, though, we cannot call it accidental, for Colonel Gordon had set ajar the door of her sick-chamber that she might gain the blessing from the adjoining room. Thenceforth she divided her attentions between the church of her fathers and the meeting-house of her husband, and the husband records no objection to her taking the way she thought best. At times a lady in that age seemed also to have rights.

Colonel Gordon gives very little account of how his young daughters amused themselves. It is not unlikely, in spite of Presbyterian sobriety, that in the intervals of catechisms and courtships they indulged in the customary fancy of stepping the minuet. Then there was the Court Chronicle to peruse in the two-leaved Gazette which came weekly from Williamsburg, and the advertisements of the milliners lately arrived from London. And even if a cargo of new finery was not in, there were other matters more delicate to linger over in the polite journal from the capital-verses of sentiment addressed to fair ones under carefully guarded names, Chloe, Myrtilla, and the like. Formal schooling was brief for the damsel of the Eighteenth Century. Marriages were early, including a larger proportion of early married widows than is usual now. The season between childhood and wifehood was as brief as the time of wild roses in spring They worked at the embroidery frame; tinkled the spinet; sang not much; danced the minuet and country dance at one after another of the neighboring houses, or played “button” and forfeit games in the presence of their elders around the blazing log fire in the drawing room. Take it all in all, life was not unendurable even in the family of an Eighteenth Century Presbyterian. The kindly gentleman who presided over the one into which we have glanced, was himself no enemy to simple, hearty pleasures. If, as he states, he will not go to the race-course, he plays ball on the lawn with his guests. There is the great Rappahonnock at his doors for another kind of sport.

Went with my wife and Mr. Criswell to see the seine drawn. We met in Eyck’s Creek a school of Rock. Brought up 260, some very large; the finest haul I ever saw. Sent many among the neighbors. Dined very agreeably afterwards on a point on fish and oysters. Late when we got home.

This sport they often indulged in. And there comes this pleasant entry:

Went with my wife to the school. My wife treated the scholars to pancakes and syder, it being Shrove Tuesday, and prevailed on Mr. Criswell to give them play in the afternoon.

Went to the general muster. The militia was called on to proclaim King George the Third which was done in pretty good order. The officers joined and gave the men about fifty or sixty gallons of punch.

Teetotalism had not then been invented. As a merchant the good Presbyterian elder sold spirits and even engaged the services of Mr. Criswell, who was a licentiate for the ministry, to help him manufacture whiskey when prices ran high. In addition to these inconsistencies, to which we may add the lottery, the worthy man attended, or at least quoted, the slave auctions when the Dutchmen came in. When he buys, he becomes a friend as well as a master. He notes in his diary ordering shoes and clothing for the negroes. He gives them books; instructs them; visits them in illness, and sends for Dr. Robertson, the first surgeon in the country-side, when Scipio, a favorite slave, is ill. He never speaks of his slaves. They are negroes, or “the people.” In short, to live a useful, well-ordered, charitable life constituted happiness for the simple-minded gentleman. “Agreeable” is the key-note of his diary. He has left us the agreeable impression that a Virginian of his time could be in the world, and not of it; the record, moreover, of other agreeable men and women who made the time in which they lived-and of a fair land where ripened in the sun shine, not only golden tobacco, but good-fellowship; sincere courtesy, and last, and the best,-to which he not a little contributed-the growth of tolerance and charity for all.